Executive search (informally called headhunting) is a specialized recruitment service.
Executive search (informally called head-hunting) is a specialized recruitment service that organizations pay to seek out and recruit highly qualified candidates for senior-level and executive jobs across the public and private sectors, as well as not-for-profit organizations (e.g., President, Vice-president, CEO and non-executive-directors ).
Headhunters may also seek out and recruit other highly specialized and/or skilled positions in organizations for which there is strong competition in the job market for the top talent, such as senior data analysts or computer programmers. The method usually involves commissioning a third-party organization, typically an executive search firm, but possibly a standalone consultant or consulting firm, to research the availability of suitably qualified candidates working for competitors or related businesses or organizations.
Having identified a shortlist of qualified candidates who match the client’s requirements, the executive search firm may act as an intermediary to contact the individual(s) and see if they might be interested in moving to a new employer.
The executive search firm may also carry out initial screening of the candidate, negotiations on remuneration and benefits, and preparing the employment contract. In some markets, there has been a move towards using executive search for lower positions driven by the fact that there are fewer candidates for some positions even on lower levels than the executive.